2018 Rifle of the Year: Savage Arms MSR Line

posted on May 15, 2018

Rather than dip its toe in the AR market, Savage Arms elected to introduce an entire line of AR-pattern rifles and carbines—one that continues to expand. The company’s MSR line is also not full of “M4geries,” but rather consists of purpose-built designs using quality components and Savage’s renowned barrels. Not only does the entire line boast the accuracy we’ve come to expect from Savage, each rifle is also competitively priced (another characteristic of the company’s rifles we’ve loved for many years).

Savage Arms entered the AR market boldly, and a detailed look at the company's MSR-15 Recon in this review certainly indicates that the company came into the playing field with some innovative ideas and forward-thinking plans in all four models seen at the start of the lineup. With the rollout of these modern Savage rifles, Savage showed consumers and industry professionals that it certainly isn’t the company it used to be. The introduction of the MSR lineup proves that the manufacturer no longer lives in the past or even the present. These guns, along with the company behind it, are definitely fixtures of the future.

In Shooting Illustrated's review of the MSR-15 Recon, Assistant Editor, Digital Evan Brune noted that the rifle ate every round without any issues. For general plinking purposes inside of 100 yards, the gun will perform well enough using 55-grain M193 ammo, but it clearly prefers at least 62-grain M855 ammo for precision accuracy. Any precision shooting should be performed with heavier-bullet options, and the results will be beyond what one expects from an off-the-shelf AR for less than $1,000.

“Savage chose to aim high in the AR market. The company is not participating in the ‘race to the bottom’ that many other manufacturers are trying to win.” —Evan Brune, Assistant Editor, Digital

Winning Features:
• Mid-length gas system enhances reliability
• 5R rifling for superior accuracy
• Blackhawk furniture, trigger and BUIS
• Slim handguard with M-Lok slots

Caliber: .223 Wylde (tested), .308 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor
Capacity: 30 rounds (tested), 20 rounds (.308 Win., 6.5 Creedmoor)
Barrel Length: 16.13 inches (tested), 20 inches
Overall Length: 33.5 to 36.75 inches
Weight: 7 pounds
MSRP: $999 (tested)


knife-sharpening kit
knife-sharpening kit

First Look: Work Sharp Precision Adjust Elite & Upgrade Kit

Work Sharp is a U.S.-based company that is known for making top-notch knife and tool sharpeners. The company's Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener is a proven performer, and it is capitalizing on the success of that sharpener with the release of the new Precision Adjust Elite and Upgrade Kit.

First Look: Blackhawk Custom Kydex Holster Builder

Blackhawk is a leader in law enforcement and military equipment, and now they have a new custom Kydex holster program where customers can build and order their own holster or magazine carrier directly on their website.

Review: Maxim PDX Pistol

The Maxim PDX line is, in many ways, the ultimate expression of the PDW concept. It’s a small, easy to handle AR-pattern firearm that uses either Maxim’s superb PDW brace in the pistol model or a collapsible stock when sold as a short barrelled rifle.

Alternate Sources for Ammo

With ammunition being in extremely short supply these days, I have resorted to sourcing ammo anywhere I can.

First Look: SIG Sauer Custom Works Spectre P320 XCarry & P365XL Pistols

With the new SIG Custom Works Spectre P320 XCarry and P365XL, the Spectre Series from SIG Sauer has a new look. 

EAA Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Florida-based European American Armory Corporation (EAA) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.